In order to start a career as a phlebotomist, most individuals only need a high school diploma or equivalent, such as a GED, to begin training and apply for a job. This entry-level medical career is easy to start and offers a good, solid annual salary even for those with minimal experience. Individuals looking for a quick way to get their start in the medical industry can benefit from starting a career in phlebotomy.

However those who want to get the most out of their careers and improve their average pay rate can receive additional training and recognition from one of the five phlebotomist certification programs that are available in the United States.

Currently only the states of California, Louisiana and Nevada require phlebotomists to be certified before being hired.

But anyone who wants to improve their career options and salary rates can benefit from completing one of these programs.

CPT – National Healthcareer Association (Certified Phlebotomy Technician)

A CPT Certification is one of the most popular in the field. Most employers who prefer to hire phlebotomists that are certified will be more likely to hire someone who holds this title. Individuals with a CPT are eligible to work in hospitals, blood centers and other similar facilities. The job duties for a CPT include the following:

  1. Drawing blood through venipuncture or skin puncture
  2. Executing basic daily tasks in phlebotomy
  3. Answering questions patients may have about the process
  4. Evaluating which technique is best for acquiring samples
  5. Preparing samples for tests according to security standards
  6. Ability to complete first-point testing such as determining the glucose level in a patient’s blood

Requirements for Each Level of the CPT Program
Earning this type of certification will help to increase your odds of being hired at the facility of your choosing. During the program, students go through training for Limited Phlebotomy Technician certification ad to receive their CPT 1 or CPT 2. The basic requirements needed to enroll in the CPT program and complete all levels are listed below.
  1. Participants must have a high school diploma or GED
  2. You must take 20 hours of basic phlebotomy classes
  3. Must have a certificate of completion from the Phlebotomy training program

Requirements for a Limited Phlebotomy Technician Certification
In order to complete the Limited Phlebotomy Technician portion of the program, the student must pass all basic requirements plus perform 25 skin punctures within a hospital setting. This task will have to be performed on real patients and be confirmed by either a registered nurse, medical doctor, physician assistant or clinical laboratory scientist.

Requirements for a CPT 1 Certification
The requirements needed to complete the CPT 1 portion of the program with no prior experience include 20 hours of advanced phlebotomy classes, 40 hours of training in hospital setting, 50 venipunctures and 10 skin punctures completely successfully, and successfully passing a written exam.

Students applying for a CPT 1 certification with less than 1,040 hours of experience only need to complete 20 hours of advanced classes, a written exam and 50 venipunctures plus 10 skin punctures confirmed by an employer or lab manager. Those with 1,040 hours of experience or more in phlebotomy who are applying for a CPT 1 certification are not required to complete 20 hours of basic phlebotomy courses.

Requirements for a CPT 2 Certification
To receive your CPT 2 certification, you will need to complete all basic requirements plus 20 hours of advanced classes and 20 arterial punctures successfully under the supervision of a MD, PA, RN or CLS. A written exam will also need to be completed.

Phlebotomy Technician (PBT) from the American Society for Clinical Pathology

Receiving a phlebotomy technician certification from the American Society for Clinical Pathology can provide the average phlebotomist with many benefits. The annual salary for those who hold a PBT is estimated to be around $30,000, which is significantly more than what a non-certified or a CPT phlebotomist earns.

To join this program, the basic requirements are a high school diploma or equivalent. Overall the training requirements for this type of certification are flexible and students may apply through one of the various sources listed below.

  1. 1 year of experience as a phlebotomy tech working in an accredited lab within the last 5 years
  2. Complete any NAACLS-approved phlebotomy program
  3. Received an RN, LPN or other medical degree that includes phlebotomy training as part of 100 skin punctures and venipunctures
  4. 40 hours of classes and 100 hours of practice inside an accredited lab, plus 100 skin punctures and venipunctures completed successfully
  5. Successfully completing an ASCP certification program that includes an MLT (ASCP) or MT/MLS (ASCP), or a DPT (ASCP) and 100 blood collections within the past 5 years
To complete the program, students must also pass a multiple choice written exam and pay the application fee of $135.

Registered Phlebotomy Technician (RPT) from American Medical Technologists

According to research, the phlebotomists that hold this certification on average receive the best salary at an average of $34,000 per year. Requirements for this program offered through the American Medical Technologists organization include graduating from an accredited phlebotomy training course within the past four years and 1,040 hours of experience as a phlebotomy technician within the past three years.

In order to complete both the educational and experience routes needed in order to begin the program, students must have a high school diploma or equivalent, and must pass any and all written exams required. Anyone who has successfully completed the organizations certification process and is eligible for the program through either the experience or education route, may become AMT certified just by paying the required fee. The exam covers basic phlebotomy questions that should be easy for anyone who has completed training to pass successfully. The application fee for the exam is $95.

National Certified Phlebotomy Technician (NCPT) from National Center for Competency Testing

To enroll in this program offered by the National Center for Competency Testing, students will need to have a high school diploma or equivalent, and also graduate from an NCAA approved training program. If that is not applicable, 2,080 hours or one year of phlebotomy work experience is also acceptable. You must have graduated from a training program or completed the required work experience within the past 10 years in order to apply.

For those applying through the Education Route, the following requirements must be met. While these documents are not required in order for you to take the exam, your certificate will not be released until they have been properly submitted.

  1. Students must be a graduate of a US high school or hold equivalent credentials
  2. You must submit a copy of your Phlebotomy Technician diploma, a certificate of completion, or a transcript with the graduation date within 60 days of graduation
  3. The Phlebotomy Technician Certification Critical Skill Competency form must be completed and submitted
The fee to take the exam is $90 for all students currently enrolled in a phlebotomy training program or those that have graduated within the past 6 months. Otherwise, the fee is $135.

Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT) from the American Certification Agency

In order to receive a CPT certification from the American Certification Agency, applicants will need to have a high school diploma, proof of completion of a phlebotomy training program, or 1 year or experience working as a phlebotomist, and proof of 100 venipunctures and 10 dermal punctures successfully completed. In the state of Louisiana, the requirements are for 25 dermal punctures.

A two hour long examination must also be completed and can be taken online. Students must also take part in practical hands-on training within a hospital setting. The fee to take the online exam is $100.

Final Thoughts on Phlebotomy Certification

Depending on which state you plan to begin your phlebotomy career in, these certifications are not required, but they are highly recommended programs that can only help you succeed throughout your career. If you are unsure about which certification is the best choice, keep in mind that most facilities will look to hire on new phlebotomist who hold a CPT. If a higher salary is the most important factor on your list, then applying for the AMT Registered Phlebotomy Technician certification will help you gain the best possible start up salary in the field.

These programs can help provide new and experienced phlebotomists with additional training which will allow them to have more options when seeking out a new employer. Whether you are just starting out in the work force, or have been a phlebotomist for several years, you could benefit in many ways by completing one or more of these helpful certification programs.